Tag Archives: moving

Be Moving Back to Vernon

These last few months, I have been thinking that our family needs to move back to Vernon…. almost ten years here in K-City and, well, I am not sure what to say about it. In the last three months, I have ran into four friends from Vernon at Costco, the ski hill, for walks and I have realized the deepness of these friendships I really miss.

I miss those friends who:

~ knew me before I was a mom

~ knew my own mom

~ I spent time working with and on vacation with

~ walked through years of change involving birth and death

~ did Music classes with me when the boys were in preschool. (Such a sweet season)

Ten years ago we made the decision to move here as Steve was commuting to K-City, 45 minutes away from our house in Vernon, and he was seeing very little of us due to long hours and evening meetings. One day, yup one day, after we moved to K-city my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Five months later she had died.

As I sit down and have a serious conversation with the family about moving back to Vernon, the boys are all a “hard no”. They were 2, 4 and 6 when we moved to K-City and this is really home for them. They have activities they love, a neighbourhood that loves on them and freedom to move around the city with confidence.

And now I remember a story from a wise uncle. Uncle John owned a fabulous apartment near Commercial Drive in Vancouver. He decided that he wanted to live a bit more freely and travel more than he already did. He sold the Commercial Drive apartment and moved into a great rental apartment on Chestnut Street beside the Burrard Street bridge and one block from the beach. His views were incredible and the accessibility to Vancouver was amazing. If I lived in Vancouver, this is the area I would want to live.

Uncle John loved living in this apartment building and weathered the loss of his parents and his sister. His entire family of origin died in a these short few years. Then Uncle John heard that his old apartment was for sale again, after being fully renovated. He jumped at the chance “to go back”. He rebought his old apartment, moved in and realized he had made a terrible mistake. He had bought the apartment “to go back” to a time where his parents and sister were alive. He wanted to truly turn back time. After a few short months, he resold his apartment on Commercial Drive for a second time and again moved back into his amazing rental apartment overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He was really happy and realized that you never can go back.

…and now as I ponder our family moving back to Vernon, his story has become my own. Why do I want “to go back” to Vernon? It is mostly because I want “to go back” to a time when my mom was alive and we had a wonderful circle of support around us. These have been lonely few years that have developed a deep well of resiliency and perseverance on my part raising three young men without that close support and encouragement as a mom. Even today when I receive a compliment on my role as a mother, I am always surprised because it is so rare. It often brings me to tears.

So we won’t be moving back to Vernon. The show must go on in K-City for this mom of three boys now ages, almost 16, 13 and 11. BUT, you never know where we will end up once the boys are graduated and finding their own paths in life.

Have a wonderful Wednesday and love what you do.

xoxo Joanna

Be in the Perfect Storm

The storm has poured down on me this year, raining on my head, sleet whopping the sides of my face, frozen eyelashes, paralyzing snow. I am in the perfect storm of GRIEF!

Death is disaster.




I told someone three times in one conversation that I am not going to allow anything bad come from my mom’s life or death. Guess what?

Death is just bad.

Very, very bad.

Sorry, I can’t wrap this one in a pretty pretend ‘good’ package.

Just bad!

Moving sucks.




Trying to find where to get decent produce, gluten free bread and friends that are honest and not too busy flying around like hummingbirds.

Now a teacher’s strike affecting friends, family and dear Sexy Neck.

School ended last Friday for the summer, two weeks early.

The teacher’s strike for class composition, size and wages.

They walk, they wear signs, they do not get paid.

Their journey is honourable.

The negotiations are a schoolyard fight between two people speaking different languages. The teacher’s union and the Government.

The pressure the strike has put on families scrambling for child care and the administration (including Sexy Neck) still left inside the schools is unfathomable.

Most days I don’t ask. Can’t ask.

As I sit deeply in this year of grief layered with mom’s death, moving, watching dad grieve, watching friendships die and now the strike.

20140618-225722.jpg“The Perfect Storm” painted over the last week.
Let a new season come upon our family…


Be Keeping Moving (and Surfing Photos)

I went to the grocery store today and wanted to lie down in the aisle when I walked by mom’s favourite balsamic infusion salad dressing… but I didn’t.  I walked on by, asked God to help me and kept on moving.  

Two steps forward.

One step back. 

Still moving.  

Tonight, I looked through some of the surfing pictures that a photographer took while we were in Hawaii.  I can’t get over my boys smiles.   They warmed my heart.    

Holding tight to memories.

Looking at smiles.

Loving my amazing boys.  



Be in the Beginning Stage of Grief

I am self-assessing that I am in the beginning stage of working through my grief.

The fog.

The midbrain.

The haze.

The denial.

I grieve my mom, our move, our old neighbours, our best friend’s move, our loss of friends. Grief is a pervasive theme right now, layer over layer.

I’m in a place where I’m constantly late. This mama, who was “teacher trained” to be on time and to follow a schedule, can’t get her child to school before the bell rings.

I can’t read. This ferocious reader can barely read a paragraph. I haven’t picked up a book in months.

Form filling has now been passed over to Sexy Neck. I used to get a rush from filling out forms. The completion. The finality. The knowing of all the answers. Now, I could care less.

I used to love to organize: people, events and thinking about special gifts to buy. Now I have no energy or need or want to organize anything or anyone or to buy a single thing.

We are living with the bare necessities and having great conversations talking about needs and wants.

Every day I wake up and wonder, What the hell happened?

It’s like a tsunami has ravaged my expectations, the sense of control and my relationship with my mom. There is debris everywhere containing everything she did with us, for us and just the huge ways she was a part of our everyday life. There are also huge chunks of debris involving my dad’s life, his retirement and their plans together. We get to see, move, feel and touch these pieces of debris every day.

It is exhausting.

Mind blowing.


I know that I am in denial as I can’t even talk with my mom, ponder where she is or even contemplate that I, Steve nor my children will have my mom in our lives again.

I sit in this beginning stage rowing through the waves of grief. I am going to give myself this time to do my ‘work’! As my counsellor tells me, I can do my work now or later, but I will have to go through it one day.

I am choosing each day to sit.

To ponder.

To wonder.

To cry.

To be.

Just enough, each day!

Be Enjoying A Move From A Small Town To THE Big City

We have moved! After two months and fourteen days of living in my awesome parent’s basement while doing renovations, our family of five and all our stuff has arrived at the new house.

Bye bye twenty foot storage container


Hello to life with a swimming pool


Yum for cheaper sushi. Our family’s favourite food! JC even ate Miso soup with me.


Yeah for new discoveries: a frozen yogurt buffet where you choose from twenty different frozen yogurts, add a topping if you want, then weigh it to find out the damage.


Now to just get everything into their rooms in a somewhat organized fashion.


Stay tuned!

Be In A Restful State

I feel that I have a healthy understanding of what my strengths and limitations are. I know that one area I need to work on is learning how to “rest”.

I think the physical posture of rest is important for me to learn. I have endured numbness, tingling and muscular fatigue in my limbs and face for almost four years. I think learning to physically, mentally and emotionally rest is the key to my healing.

Day two in our new house and Sexy Neck modelled “rest” for me well, even with our three boys mulling around.


Be Taking Dukey On A Hike

We are in the final days of “living” in the town where all three of my boys were born. I have been very intentional visiting with certain people and going to special places.

On Sunday, we went for a hike on the acreage behind the first house we lived in.   We went with an old neighbour and her son.  This is the home where JC was born beside the dishwasher.  Here’s the story.

JC insisted on taking his backpack with a snack and a few other things in it.  Does this ever happen to you with your own children?  I said yes and boy did we get a surprise.

We had hiked up to the top of the hill overlooking the lake.  The boys were sitting and chatting when suddenly out popped “Dukey”, JC’s teddy bear.  We don’t let our teddy bears go travelling with us, but I sure smiled when I saw Dukey.


My mom had given us Dukey when were six months pregnant with JC.  She gave it to us in the house at the bottom of this hill the Christmas before JC was born.

When Dukey popped out of the backpack it was a very special moment thinking about all that has happened in the last seven years since our boys (and Dukey) came into our lives.

Thanks JC for being in tune with other people and God’s Spirit inside of you.  You are one of the most thoughtful and caring people that I know.  You made us all smile today.

Be Loving People, Use Things


I used to drive by this church every day.   The quotes they put on their front billboard always fascinate me.

This quote made me want to weep.

When I first saw this sign I felt incredibly sad.  I was in a place of feeling like a discarded  “thing”.  As we are moving, certain friends have fallen away.  See this blog.

Two weeks later, I saw this quote with new eyes.  It made me want to cry tears of joy.

God had placed me with an incredible group of Christian women in a boot camp/bible study ran by our good friend “Bam” of HappyFitMe.

These women gave me hope as they shared of themselves, their healing, their love of God and their struggles.  Jesus’ loved poured out of each of them every time we were together.  The words were honest.  The actions were truthful.  They gave everything they had in our workouts at the playground, on the field, in the gym and in the pool.  It was incredible.

And now as our family moves down the lake into our new house, I have hope.

Hope that God will prosper me.  Hope that God does have a plan for my life.  Hope that the friends He will surround me with will be like these boot camp women and all the women that have walked/ran with me during this very difficult transition.  Image